HBO Political Satire Shows How Stupidity Took Over Politics In Real Time

By TeeJay Small | Published

Unless you’ve been in a coma for the last decade, you’ve likely noticed how idiotic the state of modern American politics has become, with elected officials slinging ad hominem attacks and debating the morals of nebulous “woke” causes on the campaign trail.

The state of modern politics has become so absurd that it’s almost impossible to deliver excellent political satire in the modern age. One series that expertly navigated this minefield in real-time is HBO’s Veep, which premiered in 2012 and ran through March 2019, just before the 2020 election escalated political divisiveness to an attack on the Capitol.

Veep Began As Brilliant Political Satire

Veep was created and adapted for television by Armando Iannucci after the Scottish satirist found massive success with his BBC series The Thick Of It and subsequent spinoff film In The Loop. After numerous attempts to bring the series to an American audience, Iannucci signed on to helm Veep for HBO, which would center on the mundane and milquetoast world of Washington, D.C.

The series stars a wide ensemble of terrific comedic performers, including Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tony Hale, Anna Chlumsky, Reid Scott, Matt Walsh, Timothy Simons, and Sam Richardson.

Started In A Different Time

When Veep first premiered, Barack Obama was running for reelection against Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney, the Mayan calendar was on its final few months, and The Avengers had only just showcased what the MCU was capable of delivering. 2012 wasn’t a perfect time, it wasn’t a stress-free time, but in hindsight, the year was as peaceful a time for Americans as any year since.

Politics Changed

As a result, the early seasons of Veep center on Vice President Selina Meyer as she navigates the annoying quirks of her ineffectual position while defending a President that barely acknowledges her existence.

The series was a well-written satire of the times, on a similar level to something like Parks and Recreation, but with way more F-bombs. However, only a few brief years into its run, American politics was grabbed by the you-know-what by none other than 2016 president-elect Donald Trump.

Reality Became More Absurd Than Satire

Now I’m not here to attack anyone’s political leanings, so we can blame it on anything or anyone you want, but I think any American would be hard-pressed to deny that politics in our country have become insatiably stupid since the 2016 election.

So how do you satirize politicians when they’re doing things like looking directly into a solar eclipse, calling the wives of their political rivals ugly on the debate stage, and arguing, in earnest, that the term “clean coal” means to take coal and literally scrub it clean. Many comedy programs of the time struggled, but Veep managed to move on without missing a beat.

Kept Getting Crazier To Out Pace Real-Life

As Veep reached its halfway mark, Selena and her crew became increasingly unhinged, eventually amping up their craziness so much that even Donald Trump couldn’t outdo the insanity. One character manages to leverage his own incompetence from being an intern at the White House to launching a powerful presidential bid, all while marrying his first cousin and arguing that simple mathematics should be eradicated from schools.

Veep Is Streaming On Max


There’s a reason why Veep has a 93 percent certified fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes, and the reason is that the show is a fantastic satire that managed to keep up with reality better than any other.

If you’re looking for a binge-worthy show that will ease your mind about the upcoming 2024 election, and all the stupidity wrought by the rematch of Trump vs. Joe Biden, be sure to check out Veep on Max today. The series may devolve into a lot of shouting, cursing, and bonkers political crimes by the seventh and final season, but that’s all just a reflection of real life.